It took over a decade for Barnala teacher Harpreet Singh to convert his dilapidated school building into a smart one, which can now boast of having the state’s first kindergarten section, a language lab and LED screens with projectors. Now, he is among the two teachers from the state who have been selected for the national award to be given by President Droupadi Murmu on Teachers’ Day on September 5.
The other is a Mansa government school principal, Arun Kumar Garg, who started a YouTube channel for delivering free lectures in mathematics to students when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Harpreet Singh (43), the head teacher at a government primary school in Bihla village of Barnala district, says he started the initiative of turning his dilapidated school building into a smart one way back in 2009.
He says a sum of Rs 39 lakh was spent on the school building over the years. He too contributed money for school infrastructure. “It was a very old school building. With the support of villagers and NRIs, a new school building was built," says Singh, adding that new teaching techniques were introduced for better learning for students.
“LED screens with projectors have been installed in classes for providing digital education," he says. A language lab has also been set up in the school and it helps improving pronunciation of students. The teacher says an education activity park has also been set up in the school. The state’s first kindergarten section has also been set up in the school, he says, adding their aim is that rural students get quality education.
Meanwhile, Mansa’s Datewas Government Senior Secondary School Principal Arun Kumar Garg says he decided to give mathematics lectures to students through YouTube after the coronavirus pandemic struck. Now, his YouTube channel, “Abhiyas by Arun Sir", has around 12,000 subscribers.
“My idea was that more and more students learn mathematics and they should not fear it," says Garg, who has been teaching since 2006. “There are lectures on mathematics subject from Classes 6 to 12 and anybody can have access to it," says Garg.
He has also delivered lectures on the state-run DD Punjabi channel. Garg says as a student he himself was scared of mathematics.
“I just got passing marks in mathematics in Class 10 and did not study the subject in Class 11 and 12," says Garg, who got D Litt degree from the University of Central America, Bolivia, in 2021. In another initiative, Garg along with his some friends set up an NGO, Pehal foundation, to provide free education to rural area students, who want to study medical or non-medical subjects after Class 10.
He said eight girl students from a government school in Ralli village in Mansa were enrolled. “They scored more than 90 per cent in their Class 10 exams and are now pursuing medical or non-medical subjects," says Garg, who stresses on teaching mathematics in mother tongue for better understanding of the subject.
“We have now decided that the students who want to study medical or non-medical subjects in government schools in Mansa will be given online coaching," says Garg, who was earlier awarded the Malti Gyan Peeth Award the President in May 2017. Syllabus books of mathematics for Class 1 to 10, written by Garg, are being taught in government schools in Punjab.